Whether it’s learning the basics, free-wheeling down a hill or just taking a trip to the shops for sweets, cycling tends to play a significant part in our childhoods.
Unfortunately for some, it is a hobby which is left in the past as they grow older and adult responsibilities or health problems get in the way.
However, that need not be the case any longer for Falkirk district residents who would like to get back on a bicycle and relive their youth.
The newly opened Active Travel Hub in Falkirk has a fleet of electric bikes, or e-bikes, designed to ease the transition for those hopping back on the saddle after a while.
Staff at the High Street facility are keen to help others rediscover their passion for pedal power by using the electrically motored bikes, which make cycling, especially uphill, significantly easier.
Offering four step-through e-bikes, an electric mountain bike and an urban runabout, the hub also provides guided tours and has previously enabled heart attack victims and athritis sufferers to get back on a bike.
The Falkirk Herald was invited to try out an urban runabout e-bike last week — and it proved to be every bit as enjoyable a morning as we expected.
After being given a thorough rundown of the bike’s various modes, we headed off to Callendar Park to put them to the test.
The most noticeable difference is the ease with which the bike propels itself up a hill.
However, that’s not to say no effort is required on the part of the cyclist, although the electric motor and ‘turbo’ mode do make things easier, until a speed of 15mph is reached. When that happens, the cyclist then does all of the work.
Ray Burr, Active Travel Hub coordinator, is encouraging anyone considering getting back into the cycling groove to pay the hub a visit.
He said: “The e-bikes are great for people who want to get back into cycling but might struggle a bit at first or people who have health issues.
“The assistance that the electric motors provide means they don’t have to put in the same level of effort as they would need to on a normal bike thus allowing them to enjoy cycling again.
“We have four step-through electric bikes, ranging in size from extra small to medium, an urban runabout and an electric mountain bike.
“The bikes can be hired from the hub from £7.50 for a half-day or £15 for a full-day and ID is required.
“The bikes are also free for people to use on any of our led rides or at one of our demo events.
“As well as providing access to bikes and e-bikes through our bike ‘lending library’, we share our expert knowledge of local active travel routes and run workshops on topics such as bike maintenance.”
Launched in February, the Active Travel Hub was set up as part of a Healthier Greener Falkirk Project, a joint initiative run by Falkirk Council and Forth Environment Link.
For more information about the e-bikes, stop by the hub’s 203 High Street base or call 01324 230125.